Phares on Benghazi hearings: “Did Washington consider the Salafi militias allies or foes?”

By Walid Phares
Zawahiri and Benghazi

Commenting on the US Congressional hearings on Benghazi, particularly the hearing sessions with Secretary Hilary Clinton, Dr Walid Phares said the central question that would determine the answers to most important issues in this hearing was and will continue to be ‘how did the Administration perceive the Salafi militias operating in Benghazi, and in Libya in general.”
Phares, a congressional advisor and the author of ‘The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East’ told ‘Mideast Newswire’ “If Washington considered the Salafist militias, and Ansar al Sharia was one of them, as partners in the fight against Gaddafi, then the readiness US missions had towards these militias would have been low. But if the Administration considered these militias, many of which had ties to al Qaeda, as a threat to the US, then the level of readiness was poor.” Phares, who advised Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney on the Middle East, said “tactical and local security considerations can be understood and analyzed only in the context of a larger threat situation.
There is a disconnect that has not been addressed still: The Administration worked with these Jihadi militias in one form or another. These forces were not on the map as a threat to US national security because of a political determination that they were on the right side of history, and they were perceived as in transition to integration. I think Congress and special investigation committees ought to focus on this central issue first. Once this stance is explained, then one can understand the rest of the questions.”

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The Foreign Policy Case Against Barack Obama

Credit: Flickr/Wikimedia Commons.

By Walid Phares:

As Governor Romney and President Obama continue to debate foreign policy and national security, voters would be wise to evaluate the “Obama doctrine” against the current combustible state of affairs that it has led to in the Greater Middle East. In less than four years, the Obama administration’s policies have transformed the region into a powder keg with a hairpin detonator that could be set off by the slightest diplomatic misstep, engulfing the region and the world in war. And, as if an economy on the brink wasn’t daunting enough, the current administration’s feckless diplomacy in the Arab world have begotten a near-impossible foreign policy conundrum that Mitt Romney will be forced to attend to from the moment he is sworn in as the forty-fifth president of the United States.

In order to help voters see clearly where unfolding events in the region are headed, I have summarized the salient facts and provided a brief analysis below.

President Obama’s denial of various forms of Islamist radicalism have amplified the jihadist threat and altered American foreign policy in the Middle East. In his Cairo speech in 2009, Mr. Obama affirmed the misperception that America had been on the wrong side in wars “against the Muslim world” by announcing his new expiative approach to U.S. foreign policy in the Arab world. Since then his and the State Department’s actions in the region have been characterized by retreat, abandonment of civil democratic reform movements, and partnership with Islamist movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The administration’s freedom-antagonistic policies coupled with a desire to find common ground with the Iranian regime, have effectively quashed hopes for true democratic reform while Obama remains in the White House. The Obama doctrine has dangerously impacted U.S. national security.

Barack Obama’s ill-advised pre-election commitment to bilateral negotiations with the ayatollahs was put to the test in June 2009 when millions of mostly young Iranians took to the streets of Tehran in what almost became an “Iranian Spring.” With the Iranian regime teetering on the brink of collapse, the administration turned a deaf ear to demonstrators’ cries for America’s help as evidenced by the president’s silence on their plight and stubborn insistence on seeking understanding with the Khomeinist regime. But instead of obtaining concessions on Iran’s nukes, the ayatollahs multiplied uranium enrichment efforts and produced large numbers of long-range missiles to deliver apocalypse to Israel and the “Great Satan.” Hoping to keep his grandiose illusion of U.S.-Iranian nuclear talks alive, Obama imposed belated, near-symbolic economic sanctions on Iran with predictable negligible effect. In return, the Iranian regime expanded their destabilizing efforts in the Middle East, inciting Shia in eastern Arabia, Bahrain and North Yemen to penetrate legitimate social movements and overthrow their U.S.-friendly governments.

Mitt Romney’s position on Iran is radically different and infinitely more sensible than Barack Obama’s. Sanctions should be tightened and all-encompassing to force the regime abandon its nuclear ambitions, not induce negotiations toward a partial solution. Furthermore, Governor Romney’s policy on Iran would include partnering with the forces of civil democratic reform in their efforts to replace the current extremist regime once and for all.

Obama’s miscalculation on Iran led to other regional catastrophes. As soon as the administration withdrew American forces from Iraq abruptly in December of 2011, Iranian influence penetrated Iraq. By not supporting Iran’s popular movement, Obama left Iran unrestrained. By failing to reach an agreement with Iraq before U.S. withdrawal, Obama allowed Iran to infiltrate its neighbor, further threatening Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and reaching Syria’s borders. Romney would have contained the Iranian regime first, and then consolidated a pro-Western government in Iraq.

Similar strategic mistakes were made by the administration on the Arab Spring as a consequence of its misguided apology doctrine. Instead of working with the initial forces of change in Egypt — youth, women, middle class, workers and minorities — the administration chose to partner exclusively with the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama’s team and the Islamists worked to put the Brotherhood and their Salafi allies in power, first by sidelining the secular reformers with the help of the army, then the army with the help of secular youth, before they rose to power and marginalized all other players. Under Morsi, Egypt is quickly morphing into an Islamist state, threatening the Camp David Accords, as well as seculars, women, and Copts. A similar scenario unfolded in Tunisia where Washington partnered with the Islamist Nahda at the expense of seculars, women, and reformers. Romney would pursue partnership with civil societies, particularly with women and seculars, and tie U.S. financial aid to performance by governments.

In Libya, the Obama administration again sought partnership with the Islamists and neglected working with government and secular groups to disarm the militias and after Gaddafi’s downfall, sowed the seeds of al Qaeda’s growth, and opened a path for attacks against U.S. targets, the most recent being a terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and embassy staffers. A Romney administration would first seek the disarming of the militias and, above all, provide better security for American lives in installations in countries where jihadists operate.

Barack Obama’s worst and most dramatic failure has obviously been in Syria. One year late to respond, Obama’s team was unable to create a coalition to bring down Assad. Out of Iraq by 2012, the U.S. was unable to encircle Assad and prevent Iranian support from getting to the brutal regime. Thirty thousand civilians were massacred while the U.S. administration was incapable of obtaining a UN resolution for action against Assad, despite its so-called “reset button” with Moscow. Iran is now connected to Assad in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and has reached the sea by land. Furthermore, al Qaeda is now operating in Syria and Iraq.

After Osama bin Laden was killed, the Obama administration began claiming that al Qaeda was in decline, a claim proven false as al Qaeda jihadists continue to conquer villages and towns in Yemen, fight in Somalia, are back in the Levant from Lebanon to Iraq, operating in the Sahel and Libya, with allies in Nigeria, and having established a solid base in northern Mali. Osama is dead, but al Qaeda is alive and flourishing.

With the growth of jihadism and radical Islamism, the secular forces of the Arab Spring are being pushed back. More dramatically Christian and other ethnic minorities across the region, in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, and in Sudan, are under attack. Everywhere in the region reformers, women and minorities are suppressed and pushed back, while the Islamists and jihadists up and running and expanding their reach. Iran is arming and genocide is looming from Syria to Sudan.

The Obama policies in the Middle East led to the rise of radicals and weakening of civil societies. A Romney alternative for the region is a must, not only on the basis of human rights and democracy, but also regarding U.S. national security and the security of its allies.

Published at George Mason University’s History News Network

Walid Phares is senior advisor on foreign policy and national security to presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a co-chair of the Romney Working Group on the Middle East and North Africa MENA. He is the author of the “Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East” the only book that predicted the Arab Spring before it begins

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Libyan Leaks: More Secret Documents Reveal Obama’s failure in Libya

By :

Exclusive Walid Shoebat Bombshell

Barack Obama’s claim to election fame – that Al-Qaeda has been destroyed – needs a reality check, according to a group of anti-Al Qaeda Libyans in exile. “We beg to differ,” they exclaimed. “Obama gift-wrapped Libya, handed it over to Al-Qaeda, and we can prove it.”

The group stated they have come into possession of some highly classified documents that in their view, “will bring the Obama Administration down.” They were not bluffing; they provided the first installments of official classified documents which we provided in some of our previous reporting. “The rest,” they say, “will be provided when Mitt Romney is in office. His election is our only hope for humanity,” they said.

These documents include evidence of highly sophisticated weaponry provided to jihadists which leads them to doubt that any solutions will take place under what they called “The Obama regime”.

We have come into the possession of an array of records obtained from top-level sources inside the Libyan government. They include passports of Al-Qaeda operatives and identifications of terrorists from many nations—Chad, Egypt and Pakistan to name a few—which are now all camped in Libya as they enter by crossing borders guarded and managed officially by what they called “government appointed Al-Qaeda leaders.”

This explains why the drafts of two letters on September 11th expressing worry that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was under ‘troubling’ surveillance and that the Libyan government failed to fulfill requests for additional security. “It wasn’t failure,” these pro-U.S. agents said, “but the Libyan government’s mafia-like system, subordinate to Al-Qaeda and installed with the blessings of the Obama administration that is responsible for the deaths of Americans in Benghazi,” they said.

The wealth of intelligence includes countless documents, which we will soon turn over to the National Center For Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism. They show evidence of bribes [see image to left] by the government to top-officials, weapons dealing, and bank siphoning by al-Qaeda operatives, to include copies of bank transactions that illustrate the subordination of the newly established Libyan government to Al-Qaeda. These included Bin Laden’s personal driver Sufyan Gammou and Abdul Wahhab Hassan Qayed, the brother of the recently assassinated Abu Yahya al-Libi. Qayed was officially put in charge of Libyan border control. This arrangement is responsible for the passage of large amounts of Al-Qaeda operatives into Libya.

In one classified document (see image to right) it stated that, “…it was commissioned that Fadlallah Haran Musa is to head the centers of the National Security Fares in Barqa [east of Libya] and to also commission Khalid Atiyeh to be his assistant.” These two, according to our sources, are “Islamist operatives connected to Al-Qaeda.”

Sufyan Gammu of Ansar Al-Sharia in Darnah (white cap and long beard) is one of the most wanted men from Al-Qaeda. He used to be the special driver for Usama Bin Laden and is now roaming free in Libya, protected by the government.

Salem Al-Barrani Dirbi of Al-Qaeda is now the leader of Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, which was kept in check by the previous regime, spoke openly in this video (wearing blue), telling his story about how he is now free from the previous regime after having lived in hiding in the mountains since 1996; he boasts about living freely in Benghazi today.

Also noteworthy is Abdul Baset Azzouz. Known for his vicious and cunning abilities, he was the first adviser to Ayman Al-Zawahiri and became the leader of Al-Qaeda in Darnah, Libya. He can be seen in this video, giving his testimony from Libya (wearing yellow). Azzouz can even be seen recruiting entire communities in Libya to join the jihadists.

Go to Shoebat.com for the rest of this explosive report

 

 

The Islamist Threat Isn’t Going Away

Michael J. Totten:

President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney wrapped up their trilogy of presidential debates on Monday this week and spent most of the evening arguing foreign policy. Each demonstrated a reasonable grasp of how the world works and only sharply disagreed with his opponent on the margins and in the details. But they both seem to think, 11 years after 9/11, that calibrating just the right policy recipe will reduce Islamist extremism and anti-Americanism in the Middle East. They’re wrong.

Mr. Romney said it first, early in the debate: “We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of Islam . . . reject this violent extremism.” Later Mr. Obama spoke as though this objective is already on its way to being accomplished: “When Tunisians began to protest,” he said, “this nation, me, my administration, stood with them earlier than just about any other country. In Egypt, we stood on the side of democracy. In Libya, we stood on the side of the people. And as a consequence, there is no doubt that attitudes about Americans have changed.”

The Middle East desperately needs economic development, better education, the rule of law and gender equality, as Mr. Romney says. And Mr. Obama was right to take the side of citizens against dictators—especially in Libya, where Moammar Gadhafi ran one of the most thoroughly repressive police states in the world, and in Syria, where Bashar Assad has turned the country he inherited into a prison spattered with blood. But both presidential candidates are kidding themselves if they think anti-Americanism and the appeal of radical Islam will vanish any time soon.

First, it’s simply not true that attitudes toward Americans have changed in the region. I’ve spent a lot of time in Tunisia and Egypt, both before and after the revolutions, and have yet to meet or interview a single person whose opinion of Americans has changed an iota.

Second, pace Mr. Romney, promoting better education, the rule of law and gender equality won’t reduce the appeal of radical Islam. Egyptians voted for Islamist parties by a two-to-one margin. Two-thirds of those votes went to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the other third went to the totalitarian Salafists, the ideological brethren of Osama bin Laden. These people are not even remotely interested in the rule of law, better education or gender equality. They want Islamic law, Islamic education and gender apartheid. They will resist Mr. Romney’s pressure for a more liberal alternative and denounce him as a meddling imperialist just for bringing it up.

Anti-Americanism has been a default political position in the Arab world for decades. Radical Islam is the principal vehicle through which it’s expressed at the moment, but anti-Americanism specifically, and anti-Western “imperialism” generally, likewise lie at the molten core of secular Arab nationalism of every variety. The Islamists hate the U.S. because it’s liberal and decadent. (The riots in September over a ludicrous Internet video ought to make that abundantly clear.) And both Islamists and secularists hate the U.S. because it’s a superpower.

Everything the United States does is viewed with suspicion across the political spectrum. Gamal Abdel Gawad Soltan, the director of Egypt’s Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, admitted as much to me in Cairo last summer when I asked him about NATO’s war against Gadhafi in Libya. “There is a general sympathy with the Libyan people,” he said, “but also concern about the NATO intervention. The fact that the rebels in Libya are supported by NATO is why many people here are somewhat restrained from voicing support for the rebels.” When I asked him what Egyptians would think if the U.S. sat the war out, he said, “They would criticize NATO for not helping. It’s a lose-lose situation for you.”

So we’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. And not just on Libya. An enormous swath of the Arab world supported the Iraqi insurgency after an American-led coalition overthrew Saddam Hussein. Thousands of non-Iraqi Arabs even showed up to fight. Yet today the U.S. is roundly criticized all over the region for not taking Assad out in Syria.

Read more at World Affairs Journal

Mr. Totten is a contributing editor at World Affairs and City Journal, and is the prize-winning author of Where the West Ends (Belmont Estate, 2012) and The Road to Fatima Gate (Encounter, 2011).

Romney tags jihadists as enemy, marking shift from Obama, Bush

By Neil Munro at Daily Caller:

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney identified “jihadists” as the  enemy facing the United States in the Middle East, marking a sharp rhetorical  contrast with U.S. defense policy in place since 2001.

“We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy  to help the — the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism,” Romney said, highlighting the link between Islam and  terrorism.

“We can’t kill our way out of this mess … The right course for us is to make  sure that we go after the — the people who are leaders of these various  anti-American groups and these — these jihadists, but also help the Muslim  world,” Romney said.

In contrast, former President George W. Bush labelled the 9/11 attackers “terrorists,” which downplayed their specific connection to a violent Islamic extremist ideology. For the rest of his term, Bush described the U.S.  counterattack as a “war on terrorism.”

In 2009, President Barack Obama changed the rhetoric to label the attackers “violent extremists.” Conservative critics of the president said this shift in  language further downplayed the role of fundamentalist Islamic preachers and  militia commanders in spurring the attacks on U.S. soldiers and diplomats in  countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Obama’s focus on “violent extremism” has been applauded by U.S.-based Islamic  advocacy groups, such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Islamic  Society of North America. These groups argue that terror attacks are not  motivated by Islam, even though many terrorists say their attacks are motivated  by Islam’s doctrine of jihad. Many Muslims believe jihad to be an inner  spiritual struggle, while some extremists insist that it the doctrine requires  the waging of war against non-believers.

But the White House’s “Countering Violent Extremism” strategy has also  spurred opposition from within the FBI and federal agencies.

Some officials say the “CVE strategy” hinders their efforts to recognize and  counter domestic and international Islamic messages that spur terror attacks,  and also empowers Islamic groups that seek to isolate and lead Muslim  communities in the United States.

 

When Romney Met Kenny: Mitt’s Islamist Gamble

Islamist Watch:

by David J. Rusin

Mitt Romney’s embrace of Kenny Gamble, an operator of Philadelphia charter schools who doubles as a prominent suit-and-tie Islamist calling himself Luqman Abdul Haqq, raises questions about a potential Romney administration’s readiness to identify and steer clear of smooth-talking radicals. The Republican candidate should treat this blunder as a learning opportunity. The lesson: never make the mistake of promoting a Muslim leader without properly vetting him first.The story begins on May 24, when Romney’s desire to push his education policies and reach out to urban voters prompted a visit to West Philadelphia’s Universal Bluford Charter School, one of several managed by Gamble’s conglomerate, Universal Companies. According to an ABC News report, Romney “had heard about Universal … and asked for an invitation.” Gamble claimed as much in a radio interview.

Seated beside Gamble, Romney joined other local figures for a roundtable (video here) in which he discussed ideas for attracting good teachers, involving parents, and boosting achievement. Romney generously praised Gamble, at one point turning to him and saying, “I’d like to get your experience from the front lines and first salute you for the investment you’ve made, financial and personal, in establishing a pathway for hundreds, thousands of young people to have changed lives.” Gamble led Romney on a tour of the facilities as well.

No less disconcerting, the Romney campaign appears not to have done any serious follow-up on Gamble despite drawing criticism from bloggers for the trip to an “Islamist-owned charter school.” Thus, Romney compounded the previous error by eagerly dropping Gamble’s name multiple times during NBC’s Education Nation summit in New York on September 25.

“I saw a school in the inner city of Philadelphia,” Romney explained. “And I understand that the school was closed down, that 90 percent of the kids in that school were not reading at grade level. … A guy named Kenny Gamble … put in place a charter school.” After recounting his surprise at the art, music, and computer instructors there, Romney touted how Gamble runs it “like a business.” He continued: “As I recall, almost 90 percent of the students there now are reading at grade level. And it’s the same students.” (Note, however, that Universal’s education record is very much a mixed bag.)

Wherever Romney originally heard about Gamble and Universal, it probably was not from the websites of Middle East expert Daniel Pipes, Islamist Watch, or Militant Islam Monitor, which for years have documented Gamble’s troubling agenda — a history that should make him toxic to any politician knowledgeable about stealth jihad.

An African-American music and real estate mogul, Gamble has long been listed — under his alternate name, Luqman Abdul Haqq — as part of the governing council of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), which is among the most radical U.S. Muslim groups. Its formation was inspired by Jamil al-Amin, a convicted cop killer and Islamic separatist who dreams of a Shari’a-run state; he enjoys MANA’s support to this day and even has phoned into MANA meetings from prison. Gamble’s other MANA colleagues have included Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who preached jihad against the U.S. and was shot to death after initiating a gunfight with federal agents in 2009, and Siraj Wahhaj, one of the “unindicted personswho may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Just as several MANA leaders have championed the building of closed Islamic communities, Gamble outlined his own “model” for them during an interview on Saudi television. Worse, he is suspected of actually using his enormous South Philadelphia real estate holdings to assemble what has been dubbed a “black Muslim enclave.” Confronted in 2007, Gamble responded with a rant portraying segregation as natural. “It’s like cats,” he insisted. “They’re all cats. But you don’t see the lion with the tiger. You don’t see the tiger with the panther.” Equally alarming are Gamble’s intimate ties to the Jawala Scouts (photos here), aptly described as an “Islamic paramilitary boys group” featuring “hand-to-hand combat, firearms training, and survival tactics.”

Additional background is available in an Islamist Watch article from 2008, published after Gamble left his fingerprints on that year’s election by hosting an Obama office. Alternatively, a simple online search yields plentiful data.

What makes the Romney-Gamble flirtation so unsettling is the apparent lack of due diligence in determining who does and does not get endorsed by the man who could be the next leader of the free world. Ten minutes on Google should suffice to raise red flags, but did anyone from the campaign bother to look? More disturbing is the possibility that uncomfortable facts turned up but were dismissed as tangential to Gamble’s work in education.

“Saluting” somebody like Gamble for one facet of his life while ignoring the rest imparts an aura of respectability to the individual as a whole, easing the path for his less savory projects. This seems to be understood for every group except Muslims. Imagine, for example, a senior figure in a radical Christian organization whose luminaries have been linked to violence and terrorism, a man who has shrugged off charges of constructing a “white Christian enclave” and been involved with a youth movement whose participants march in fatigues and brandish weapons. Regardless of his other accomplishments, would this person be asked to share camera time with a presidential hopeful? The question answers itself.

The role of the media is significant here. Though they would hammer any candidate who bolstered the analogous Christian radical, mainstream news sources that covered Romney’s Bluford visit made no mention of the skeletons in Gamble’s closet, illustrating that their see-no-evil mentality vis-à-vis Islamism trumps even their instinct to shame Republicans. Indeed, the obvious hypersensitivity and double standards protecting Islamists can foster complacency among politicians of both parties, who assume that they will not be held accountable for palling around with them.

This certainly has been the case in Philadelphia, where Mayor Michael Nutter has suffered no ill effects from having Gamble on his inaugural committee, personally presenting the sign to rename a block in Gamble’s honor, and headlining the dedication ceremony for a taxpayer-supported mural that lauds him. Such legitimization has paved the way for Gamble to build his Islamist-tinged empire through massive government assistance, including dirt-cheap property from the city, sweetheart deals with the School Reform Commission when it was chaired by a onetime Universal board member, and regular feedings at public troughs that span the municipal, state, and federal levels.

Rather than provide a “they do it too” excuse for politicians caught befriending Islamists, the Philadelphia establishment’s cozy relations with Gamble only underscore the importance of a critical eye and the will to act on it — in other words, real leadership. As radical Muslims aggressively seek similar openings to win undeserved respect and influence governments both nationally and internationally, a president capable of recognizing and shunning them is more vital than ever. Washington’s colossal and bipartisan failures in Muslim outreach — most recently seen in the mind-boggling selection of an Islamist to represent the U.S. at a conference on human rights — have done enough damage already.

Islamists have grown adept at hiding in plain sight, so great care must be taken when choosing which Muslims to engage and extol. With luck, airing the embarrassing facts behind his unfortunate promotion of Kenny Gamble / Luqman Abdul Haqq will be the wake-up call that Mitt Romney needs to learn this lesson now and, should he prevail on November 6, be in a better position to succeed where past presidents have faltered.

David J. Rusin is a research fellow at Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

What Would a Mitt Romney Foreign Policy Look Like?

By Timothy R. Furnish:

Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave a foreign policy-centric address at the Virginia Military Institute [VMI] on October 8; his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, opined at some length — when Vice-President Joe Biden would let him speak — on foreign policy during the VP debate on October 11. While the Romney-Ryan positions on international affairs are spelled out on the campaign website, getting the information straight from the elephants’ mouths can often prove more enlightening — and taken together, these two public addresses provide evidence of potentially surprising strengths, as well as troubling weaknesses, should these two men win next month.

At VMI, Romney worked to his audience by invoking perhaps that institution’s most famous graduate, General and later Secretary of State and Defense George Marshall, who was complimented by Churchill for fighting against “defeatism, discouragement and disillusion” — three problems which Romney sees the Obama administration as having fostered. Of course, Romney then segued into the anti-American violence in Libya and other Muslim-majority countries, upon which he promised to “offer a larger persepective.” To that end, Romney shaped his talk around three themes: the ostensible yearning for American-style freedom among the peoples of the Middle East; the alleged lack of leadership from the Obama administration, and how he would rectify that; and, finally, the invocation of “extremism” as the explanation for the anti-Americanism in the Islamic world.

Ironically, rather like Obama, Romney sees the events of the “Arab Spring” and the abortive “Green Revolution” in Iran through neo-Wilsonian lenses, as evidence of Middle Eastern masses yearning to breathe free — a “struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despair.” In this Manichaean conflict, Romney turns the Obama administration’s own phrase describing its Libya policy — “leading from behind” — against the president and uses it as a base from which to construct a multi-level critique of current policy:

1) Obama’s distancing of the U.S. from its traditional ally Israel has “emboldened our mutual adversaries, especially Iran;”

2) the Islamic Republic of Iran “has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability” and “has never acted less deterred by America;”

3) Iraq faces “rising violence, a resurgent al-Qaeda, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad, and the rising influence of Iran;”

4) the Syrian regime is slaughtering its own people; and

5) the president’s over-reliance on stand-off drone strikes is “no substitute for a national security strategy for the Middle East.”

Romney continued: “I know the president hopes for a safer, freer and more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy.” It’s far from clear that frosty U.S.-Israeli relations have emboldened the ayatollahs, considering they may well see such as wily “Zionist subterfuge,” but as someone who studies Iran, and has even been there, I think it’s undeniable that the Islamic Republic of Iran fears Obama far less than his predecessor, who invaded both neighboring countries. As for Iraq’s problems, none is really Obama’s fault and in fact one might well argue that Tehran’s influence there amounts, rather, to a reassertion of the centuries-old fault line between (Ottoman) Sunni and (Persian) Shi`i cultural zones. The al-Assad, Alawi regime in Syria is slaughtering Sunni militas – but whether that’s worse, geopolitically, than having the Salafi-heavy opposition groups and their AQ allies taking over Damascus is debatable. I do think Romney is on solid ground in his claim that foreign-policy-by-Predator is less than ideal, however; Obama’s drone strikes are far more numerous than Bush’s, and while they do keep Americans out of harm’s way one suspects that were a Republican administration killling as many civilians via this mode as it does “militants” that the media would be giving the issue far more coverage. It’s also worth noting that dead (suspected) terrrorists are rather poor sources of intelligence – although they do keep the politically inconvenient ranks of Gitmo detainees lower.

Over against these alleged inadequacies in the current administration’s approach, Romney presented his policy proposals:

1) new sanctions and the credible threat of U.S. military action to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons quest;

2) recommitment to Israel;

3) “deepen[ing] our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf” (although whether this means the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the smaller Emirates and such — or both — is left unspecified);

4) quixotically, no doubt, importuning NATO allies to increase defense spending;

5) creating what sounds like a Middle East czar — or, perhaps more accurately, sultan — to oversee policy in that region;

6) matching U.S. aid to not just protection of diplomats but “civil society, a free media, political parties, and an independent judiciary;”

7) being a “champion of free trade;”

8) rather blandly, “support[ing] friends across the Middle East who share our values” in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Afghanistan; and finally

9) “recommit[ing] America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.”

Most of these are rather standard-issue conservative foreign-policy boilerplate, manifesting Romney’s rather prudent — some would say risk-averse, bordering on timid — approach to winning this election: “first, do no harm (to your potential independent vote).” And in fact, the fifth one sounds strangely bureaucratic and, dare I say it, liberal for the GOP nominee. At least Romney made some attempt to make U.S. foreign aid contingent on, for example, the recipient country actually keeping our ambassador alive — unlike the current president. But the bottom-line seems to be that Romney is running, with good reason, on the Clintonian (Carvillean, actually) dictum “it’s the economy, stupid” and hoping to avoid the foreign policy thicket until after January 20, 2013.

Throughout this dual litany of Obama policy mis-steps, on the one hand, and his own preferred changes, on the other, Romney adduced the term “extremism” no fewer than seven times:

1) “mobs hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism over American embassies;”

2) “the very extremists who murdered our people” in Benghazi;

3) in Syria “violent extremists are flowing into the fight;”

4) besides al-Qaeda, “other extremists have gained ground acros the region;”

5) “violent extremists [are] on the march;”

6) in the Middle East, we have “friends who are fighting for their futures against the very same violent extremists;” and, finally,

7) the Obama 2014 pull-out from Afghanistan “abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country.”

Only once, note, did he preface the term with the adjective “Islamic.” However, by that one example of intellectual honesty, Romney locates himself light-years ahead of the Obama administration, which actively discourages honest discussion of the fact that 61 percent — 31 of 51 — of the foreign terrorist organizations on the State Depatment’s list thereof are Islamic and which, further, sanctions counter-terrorist trainers who dare to utter words such as “jihad.” One wishes he would simply call an Islamic extremist spade a spade — but Romney is allowing himself to be constrained by his stable of advisors, as well as, perhaps, the pro-Islamic tendencies inherent in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Someone needs to tell the Governor that naming Islamic extremism in the defense of Western civilization is no vice.

Read more at GMU’s History News Network

Timothy R. Furnish holds a PhD in Islamic, World and African history. He is a former U.S. Army Arabic linguist and officer who currently works as an author, Islamic World analyst and consultant to the U.S. government and military.

Also see: Mitt Romney Foreign Policy Speech at Yeshiva University in 2007 (counterjihadreport.com)

The Stakes in Tonight’s Foreign Policy Debate

By Bruce Thornton

Foreign policy, the topic of tonight’s debate, was suddenly thrust into the voters’ consciousness by the murder of 4 Americans, including our ambassador, in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11. Intensifying the fallout of this event has been the Obama administration’s incoherent, clumsy, duplicitous, and rapidly unraveling attempt to blame the terrorist murders on a YouTube movie trailer lampooning Mohammed, in order to downplay the strength of the heavily armed jihadist outfits, some connected to al Qaeda, now swarming in Libya as a result of our overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

If Governor Romney wants to succeed, he must focus on the Benghazi attack and subsequent misdirection not just to highlight the administration’s increasingly obvious attempt to spin a carefully planned terrorist attack into a spontaneous reaction to an offensive video. More importantly, Romney must use the attack to emphasize its real significance: the political expediencies, character flaws, and dubious ideological assumptions behind Obama’s foreign policy failures.

The evidence of this failure is obvious throughout the Middle East. Start with Libya, the country most in the news. Eighteen months after U.S. air power facilitated the overthrow of Gaddafi In Libya, a weak central government is dominated by hundreds of heavily armed militant Islamist bands, some with links to al Qaeda, of the sort that killed our ambassador. Before his death, ambassador Chris Stevens reported that black al Qaeda battle-flags were flying over government buildings in Benghazi. This is consistent with an August 2012 report from the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, which documented al Qaeda’s influence in Libya and concluded, “The Libyan Revolution may have created an environment conducive to jihad and empowered the large and active community of Libyan jihadists, which is known to be well connected to international jihad.”

Elsewhere in Africa, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is active across a broad swath of North Africa, and is suspected of complicity in the Benghazi attack. Al Qaeda-linked militants control territory in northern Mali the size of France, and are applying shari’a law, including punishments like stoning, amputation, and public beatings.  In Nigeria the jihadist group Boko Haram, whose real name is “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad,” is also linked to AQIM, with whom it shares training, funds, and explosives. Boko Haram has been murdering Christians and others, 650 in this year alone, in order to fulfill the mandate of its name. And in Yemen, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula continues to battle the government and to plot terrorist attacks. Contrary to Obama’s claims, Al Qaeda’s leadership may have been degraded, but the franchise continues to be strong and active.

Likewise in the Middle East, where the jihadist Muslim Brothers have come to power in Egypt, the region’s most populous country, thanks to Obama’s abandonment of the brutal but reliable Hosni Mubarak, who had kept them in check. Even as al Qaeda terrorists have stepped up attacks in Iraq in the wake of our withdrawal, that country is strengthening its ties to Iran, allowing the Iranians to cross Iraqi air space in order to deliver arms to Syria’s Bashar al Assad. In Syria, numerous jihadist groups fighting Assad are gaining valuable battlefield experience in tactics and weapons, including surface-to-air missiles probably acquired from Gaddafi’s looted arsenals. The Taliban in Afghanistan are surging in anticipation of Obama’s announced 2014 withdrawal, with U.S.-trained Afghan security forces turning their weapons on coalition troops, killing 51 this year. Given the weakness of the corrupt regime of Hamid Karzai, there is a very good chance that the Taliban will reestablish itself as a major power in Afghanistan after U.S. forces withdraw in 2014.

Most dangerously, Iran continues its march to the acquisition of nuclear weapons with which it can “wipe Israel off the map,” as President Ahmadinejad has threatened. According to a recent DEBKA report, Iran’s “nuclear program’s high-speed uranium enrichment plant has now been entirely sequestered in the fortified underground Fordo site near Qom,” which means the Israelis will not be able to destroy the site completely without America’s help. DEBKA continues, “The Iranians are preparing to change the ‘active formation’ of the Fordo centrifuges and adapt them for refining uranium up to the 60 percent level, a short step before the weapons grade of 90 percent. The conversion is expected to be ready to go in the second half of December or early January 2013.” Yet despite this fast approaching point of no return, the Obama administration has refused to back up non-lethal sanctions with a credible threat of force, leaving the Iranians to calculate correctly that they have enough time to reach nuclear capability.

Finally, Obama has chilled relations with our one reliable ally in the Middle East, Israel. He has accepted the specious pretext that “settlements” are the roadblock to peace, claimed that negotiations must start with the indefensible 1967 armistice line, snubbed and insulted Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, and worst of all, refused to back vigorously and unequivocally Israel’s attempts to eliminate the existential threat represented by a nuclear-armed Iran. Indeed, his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said of an Israeli preemptive strike on Iran, “I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.” Such hostile talk has emboldened the Iranians and disheartened not just Israel, but other allies like Saudi Arabia who know what sort of disruptions and dangers will follow the mullahs’ getting the bomb.

Obama, in short, has reversed the famous aphorism of the Roman general Sulla: under his foreign policy, America has become no better enemy, no worse friend. Our retreat and weakness have diminished America’s stabilizing role in the region, creating a vacuum other countries are eager to fill. As Amir Taheri recently wrote, “For six decades American power acted as the pole that kept the tent [regional stability] up. Over the past four years, however, Barack Obama has pulled that pole away, allowing the tent to sag and, in parts, collapse. As opportunist powers, Russia, Iran and Turkey are trying to fill the vacuum created by America’s retreat. Thus, Russia has just returned as a top supplier of weapons to Iraq, clinching a $4.2 billion contract, partly thanks to lobbying by Iran.” Under Obama, the United States now has little influence over events, even as our own national interests, values, and security are put in jeopardy by these developments.

If Romney wants to gain the upper hand tonight, he needs to highlight this litany of failure. More important, he has to identity the flaws of character and ideology that have led to foreign policy disaster. The political needs of reelection, of course, have shaped Obama’s reactions to events. He staked his foreign policy success on the narrative that our major problem was al Qaeda, so all we needed to do was kill bin Laden and use drone strikes to degrade al Qaeda’s leadership. Hence Obama’s recent assertions that “Al Qaeda’s on its heels” and  “Al Qaeda is on the run.” Couple the war on al Qaeda to “democracy promotion” in the region, and all our terrorist problems would disappear. As Obama said on “60 Minutes,” follow this policy and “over the long term we are more likely to get a Middle East and North Africa that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more aligned with…our interests.”

That narrative explains Obama’s clumsy attempt to attribute the Benghazi attack to the “disgusting” YouTube video and the “spontaneous reaction,” as U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said five days after the attack, that the video provoked, thus supporting the “al Qaeda on its heels” claim. But as we’ve seen above, al Qaeda is not just active, but growing. It is the mother ship of numerous other jihadist outfits with whom it cooperates and coordinates. But Obama’s admission that the attack was a carefully planned lethal celebration of the 9/11 attacks would perforce have repudiated the linchpin of his alleged foreign policy success, and it would have shown that contrary to his “60 Minutes” assertions, during his administration the region has become less peaceful and less aligned with our interests.

But equally important are the failures of Obama’s character, particularly his grandiose estimation of his world-historical significance. Believing that Muslims would react positively to his Muslim name and Muslim roots, Obama thought that all he had to do was show up, and all these countries would forget their national interests and religious beliefs. Of course that arrogant assumption has failed miserably, as surveys of the region show. According to the Pew Research Center, confidence in Obama exceeds 25% only in one country, Lebanon. And those numbers are significantly lower than they were when he took office in 2009. These data should not surprise anyone who knows that nations base their policies on their own culturally specific beliefs and national interests, not on other leaders’ charm or efforts at ingratiation. All Obama’s solicitous “outreach” has achieved is to create the impression that America is a weak enemy and an unreliable ally.

Read more at Front Page

 

 

CAIR Official: Mention of Islamists is ‘Politics of Fear’

Dawud Walid prays at a protest against the NYPD’s counter terrorism efforts (Photo: Reuters)

by: Ryan Mauro:

On October 11, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) posted an articlewhere its Executive Director, Dawud Walid, says that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is engaging in “politics of fear” by talking about the “so-called Islamists.” This statement isn’t just meant to undermine a political campaign. It’s about dismissing the notion that Islamists even exist at all.

The term Islamist (or Islamism) refers to an adherence to “political Islam,” an ideology that deems Islam not only a religion, but the view that Sharia law should be implemented in all spheres of life including government, social, judicial, economic, military and cultural. Adherents envision world domination by the Muslim ummah (the worldwide community of Muslims).

Walid wrote, “And he [Romney] made a statement that so-called Islamists want to wage perpetual war with the West. So it appears that Mr. Romney is engaged in the politics of fear,” Walid said. He stated that Romney “sounds a little hostile” to Muslims.

Walid’s statement conveys two messages: Islamists don’t exist and Muslims should feel threatened by those who say they do.

The word “Islamist” is problematic for Walid and CAIR because if you accept the term, then you accept that Muslims are not a monolith in terms of ideology. This undermines the efforts of CAIR and its Islamist allies to mobilize the ummah, as if it were one political party or nation-state. Suddenly, Muslim-Americans are forced to identify themselves as Islamists or non-Islamists, giving an opening for alternative leadership to arise that can compete with the Brotherhood network.

The denial that Islamists exist is actually an indication that one is an Islamist. This sounds like a self-contradiction, but Islamists view themselves as the only authentic practitioners of Islam. There is only one Islam and it is theirs. To them, “Islamism” is therefore an artificial and meaningless construct.

The Brotherhood affiliates differ in their approaches to the term. Some will use the term “Islamists” but characterize them as non-threatening and “moderate” by comparing them to Al-Qaeda. Others, like Walid, question they even exist in the first place. The objective of either approach is to stop the U.S. from viewing the Islamist ideology as the problem, as opposed to just Al-Qaeda-type jihadists. Once Islamism becomes the problem, then CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates are seen as part of the problem. Right now, they are seen as part of the solution, the bridge-builders that the U.S. government must court.

The double-standard of Walid’s attack on Romney is breathtaking. America is one of the only countries (perhaps the only) where using the term “Islamists” is highly controversial and seen as an attack on all of Islam and its adherents. In the Middle East, the least tolerant region on earth, “Islamist” regularly appears in the press and Islamists often identify themselves that way. Almost everyone accepts that criticism of Islamists is not a criticism of all Muslims, especially because it is often Muslims who are making the criticisms.

Read more at Radical Islam

The Next Presidential Debate: Winning Issue

Center for Security Policy

By Frank Gaffney, Jr.

Tuesday’s rematch of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is likely to be their first of two in which the incumbent’s record as Commander-in-Chief is going to be a matter of direct debate.  If last week’s set-to between their running mates is any guide, there will be opportunities and perils for the challenger.  It behooves Gov. Romney to maximize the former and minimize the latter if he wants decisively to defeat the President in these mass-audience settings, and in November.

Here’s how he can do that:

One obvious way is to pick up on the success his partner, Rep. Paul Ryan, had in exploring the run-up to, the events of and the Obama administration’s serial lies after the murderous attack last month on our consulate in Benghazi.  Mr. Romney can rebut the contention that he is “politicizing” this incident by showing that it is a teachable moment about the whirlwind we are going to reap from the seeds sown in the Mideast and elsewhere by President Obama.

But it will not be enough to castigate the administration for failing to protect our diplomatic personnel and facilities in a very dangerous part of the world.  The point is that, as a practical matter, attacks on such targets must be deterred, not simply defended against.  And Mr. Obama not only is not deterring our enemies, he is legitimating, enriching and emboldening them.

A case in point is the Muslim Brotherhood – the font of modern jihadism and the wellspring of groups like al Qaeda, the Taliban, Gema’at Islamiyya and others who engage in violence or “terrorism” as a companion to the stealthy, pre-violent “civilization jihad” in which the Brotherhood specializes.  Where the Brothers are in charge, terrorists are finding safe-havens and organizing for their holy war against non-Islamist Muslims and the West.  The attacks in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere are but symptoms of the rising confidence of our Islamist foes that America will submit to, not resist, their gathering power.

By taking on President Obama squarely over his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Gov. Romney can make clear that he is not simply quibbling about how many U.S. troops are left in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and for how long, or a case of Monday morning quarterbacking about the Libya debacle.  Rather, they have a profound policy difference rooted in Mr. Romney’s recognition that the threat we face emanates not just from al Qaeda, but from all those who, whatever their tactical or sectarian disagreements, fundamentally share that group’s commitment to the triumph of the totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine of shariah. The Republican candidate must communicate a determination to defeat, not accommodate, them.

The poster child for such accommodation could be Omar Abdul Rahman, the jihadist cleric serving a life-sentence for fomenting multiple terrorist plots in this country, including the first conspiracy to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has demanded the release of the so-called “Blind Sheikh” and Mr. Romney could usefully announce that if he’s president, Abdul Rahman will die in American prison, period – and call on Mr. Obama to say the same.

The American people need to have President Obama clarify his stance on another front, as well.  In March 2012, he was overheard conveying a promise to Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin that he would have “more flexibility after my last election.”  Mr. Romney can helpfully establish whether, as seems likely, that would translate into: an even more aggressive effort to pursue U.S. nuclear disarmament (unilaterally, if necessary); concessions constraining missile defenses; and acquiescence to Kremlin efforts to assert Russia’s authority worldwide, at America’s expense.  He can show that, while we have engaged in such restraint in the name of “resetting” relations, Putin is comprehensively modernizing the Russian nuclear arsenal, conducting exercises simulating its use against us and undermining U.S. interests around the globe.

Governor Romney must also show how President Obama has failed to warn of, let alone effectively counter, the rising power of Communist China.  This is not simply a question of currency manipulation.  The PRC is also investing in: a massive military build-up of highly threatening nuclear forces – including, for example, four new long-range missiles and 3,000 miles of tunnels known as the Underground Great Wall in which to hide them; anti-space capabilities; and advanced conventional weaponry (notably, two new stealth aircraft).  At the same time, it is threatening war with our ally, Japan, and claiming sovereignty over virtually the entire South China Sea.

Mr. Obama’s response is a so-called “pivot” to Asia. The Republican challenger can point out that this is seen by Beijing for what it is: the unresourced – and, therefore, meaningless – machinations of a paper tiger.  No matter how many times Obama-Biden say it, America’s military leaders are not in favor of the sorts of budget cuts that are validating such perceptions by eviscerating our defenses and especially our power-projection capabilities.

Governor Romney has already taken President Obama to task for declaring that he does not regard Venezuela’s rabidly anti-American dictator as a threat.  Now that Chavez has engineered his reelection, we are likely to see even more evidence of how wrong Team Obama is in discounting the danger posed by a regime that has: turned Venezuela into a despotically misruled and dangerous armed camp; forged alliances with Iran, China, Russia, Cuba, Hamas, Hezbollah and other foes of the United States and brought to power like-minded proxies throughout the region; and agreed to place in Venezuela Iranian missiles capable of reaching the United States.

In the course of the 2008 election, Barack Obama famously declared that he was going to “fundamentally transform the United States” by, among other things, redistributing wealth.  He has, since gaining the presidency, pursued another, less-recognized transformational agenda:  Call it redistributing American power.  A recent poll sponsored by the Foreign Policy Initiative suggests the voters overwhelmingly reject such a practice. By focusing on the foregoing, winning issues in the remaining days of this campaign, Governor Romney can enlist – and deserve – their support.

Governor Romney’s study guide for the upcoming foreign policy debate

By Kerry Patton:

The Vice Presidential debate concluded and only two more debates will occur before this upcoming November election. Governor Romney is racing to get his ducks in order for next week’s foreign policy debate. He doesn’t need stacks of documents to study—he only needs this one article.

Since President Obama took office, the war in Afghanistan has turned for the worse. This is a fact supported with horrifying numbers. Only one number needs to be revealed to the American public proving this point—American service members killed in Afghanistan.

In the seven years that President Bush oversaw the war in Afghanistan, approximately 569 US troops were killed. In the three and a half years President Obama has been our Commander-in-Chief, that number has spiked approximately 70% to 1,431. How could President Obama explain the stark differences in these numbers?

Basic counter insurgency (COIN) requires you to treat the population as the center of gravity. In doing so, you protect that population while sharing their risks. This convinces the people you’re serious about helping them. However, if the Commander-in-Chief announces the date you’re leaving, it makes it extremely difficult to convince the people you’re going to protect them.

The people of Afghanistan know that after we leave, the Taliban will move in and anyone who helped Americans will be killed. So what do they do? They hedge their bets and bide their time until we leave. By announcing the 2014 pull-out, President Obama has cut the legs out from the very strategy he has bound our military to follow.

President Obama’s foreign policy has not only endangered our service members, it also endangered American values of life, liberty, and adequate due process among everyday American citizens. Since President Obama took office, he authorized the indiscriminate killing of US citizens Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. They were Al Qaeda operatives staged in Yemen.

In 2010, President Obama authorized the two Al Qaeda operative’s lives come to an end by means of a drone strike. These citizens were never granted their Constitutional rights of due process. Which American citizen will be next and when will this abuse in power end?

In 2009, the “Green Movement” in Iran unfolded. This was a movement inside Iran meant to topple the current regime. That current regime is the very regime that threatens the world with nuclear developments.

The Obama Administration did nothing to support the pro-democracy “Green movement” which could have ended the current Iranian regime’s initiatives of procuring a nuclear arsenal. It could have also reduced an unprecedented amount of violence throughout the entire Middle East that has been sparked and fueled by Iranian backed operatives.

Supporting the Green Movement could have marginalized the atrocities that continue to unfold in Syria as well as stabilized security for our ally, Israel. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that the Obama administration failed to capitalize on. Instead, the current US administration continues to support oppositions closely aligned with Al Qaeda.

As Libyan oppositions fought to topple the Qaddafi regime, the United States took a leading role in a multi-national air campaign supporting anti-Qaddafi fighters. US tax payer dollars were used to support an opposition which later assassinated Ambassador Chris Stevens.

US intelligence revealed that the very opposition that fought Muammar Qaddafi’s regime incorporated Al Qaeda based terrorists into its mix. These fighters comprised of terrorists from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) among others.

Read more at Canada Free Press

Kerry Patton, a combat disabled veteran, is the author of Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies’ and the children’s book ‘American Patriotism. You can follow him on Facebook or at kerry-patton.com.

 

Mitt Romney Foreign Policy Speech at Yeshiva University in 2007

Published April 26, 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, gave this speech at Yeshiva University.

“Thank you so much. It’s an honor to be with you this evening. Oliver, thank you for your introduction. I want to thank you for the opportunity to address you tonight, and for letting me share in the 20th anniversary of the Syms School . Thank you to Sy Syms and his family. To the supporters, the professors, the administrators, the alumni, and all the students: congratulations on this great event.

“As you heard, I spent most of my life in the private sector, first by consulting the major corporations, and then by starting and acquiring companies. It takes chutzpah I believe to buy a company from somebody else, someone who knows the business inside out, someone who has decided that now is the best time to sell, someone who has hired an investment banker to hawk it to everybody in the world, and then to think that you, having paid more than anyone else in the entire world, you somehow think you are going to make a profit on your investment.

“It’s truly an improbable way to make a living. But it worked, and far better than I ever imagined. During the fifteen years that I was the proud partner at Bain Capital, our compound rate of return on our investments exceeded 100% a year. Not bad.

“Now, what was the secret? There really wasn’t a secret. What we did is done every day by you in the private sector. We started off with good people-highly intelligent, intellectually curious, driven people. We gathered extensive data and carried out rigorous analysis before we made our decisions. And then we used all that information to develop a highly focused strategy to make the enterprise more successful.

“I found that the same approach works in the public sector as well. Good people, data, analysis, focused strategy. It’s not the way government usually does things, but it’s the way government should do things.

“Today, America faces a number of critical challenges. In my view, at the top of the list is the threat of radical, violent Jihad and the associated threat of nuclear proliferation.

“I think many of us, including some of our leaders, fail to comprehend the extent of this threat. Take former President Jimmy Carter. President Carter thinks that Israel ‘s security fence is the thing that keeps peace from coming to the Holy Land .

“Having just been to Israel, I came to the opposite conclusion: the security fence keeps peace in Israel- it’s helping – that fence is helping prevent bloodshed and terror and violence

“What Jimmy Carter fails to understand is what so many fail to understand. Whether it’s Hamas or Hezbollah; Al Qaeda or Shia and Sunni extremists, there is an overarching goal among the violent Jihadists - and it transcends borders and boundaries. That goal is to replace all modern Islamic states with a religious caliphate, to destroy Israel, to cause the collapse of the West and the United States, and to conquer the entire world.

“Jihadism - violent, radical, fundamental Jihadism – is this century’s nightmare. It follows the same dark path as last century’s nightmares: fascism and Soviet communism.

“The September 11th Commission reported that al-Qaeda had been trying to acquire or build nuclear weapons for well over a decade. Former CIA Director George Tenet said that Osama bin Laden sees the acquisition of WMD as a ‘religious obligation.’ Jihadist clerics have issued fatwas authorizing the use of nuclear weapons to… ‘defeat the infidels.’

“We are faced with the horrific proposition that those who speak of genocide are developing the capability to carry it out.

“Radical, nuclear Jihad is the greatest threat that faces humanity. It cannot be appeased. It can only be defeated.

“In my view, there are several steps that America has to take.

“First, we have to sharply increase our investment in national defense. I want to see at least 100,000 more troops in our military. I want to see us finally make the long overdue investment in equipment and armament, weapon systems, and strategic defense. That’s going to require that we spend at least 4 percent of our GDP on defense.

“Let me show you, by the way, a little history here. Let’s see if I can make this work. This shows the history as a percentage of GDP of the U.S. military. And you’ll see that over time, we’ve made some pretty significant investments in protecting our country. In the Korean War, 11.7% of the nation’s economic activity was associated with the protection of this land. During the Reagan years, it reached approximately 6% of our GDP. Today, it’s down to 3.8% and I believe that we have to increase at least by 40-50 billion dollars a year our spending on military strength.

“Second, America has to become energy independent. Our economic and military strength require it. We use 25% of the world’s oil. On this chart, you see where the oil comes from. The United States has approximately 1.7% of the world’s crude oil reserves. We obviously have to become energy independent for strategic purposes and I’m not just talking about symbolic measures, I mean that we finally have to take the necessary steps to actually produce as much energy as we use.

“Third, we have to transform our international civilian resources, to enhance our influence for peace, and for security, and for freedom. Just as the military in our country has divided the world into common regions with a single commander for each region, our civilian agencies need to do the same thing.

“Fourth, we need to strengthen our old partnerships and old alliances, and inaugurate a new one. I agree with former Prime Minister Aznar of Spain that we should build on the NATO alliance to defeat radical Islam.

“And further, if I were fortunate enough to be elected your President, I’d call for a National Summit of Nations to create a new partnership – a Partnership for Hope and Prosperity.

“This Partnership would assemble the resources of all the nations of the world to work to assure that Islamic states that are threatened with violent jihad have public schools that are not Wahhabi madrases; that they have micro credit and banking, the rule of law, human rights, basic healthcare, and competitive economic practices.

“And fifth, we have to keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Their ambition to develop nuclear weaponry is clear: they have a virtually inexhaustible supply of clean natural gas for energy, they have refused Russia’s offer to supply nuclear fuel for their power. Obviously, their nuclear ambition has nothing to do with clean energy.

“Ahmadinejad has gone beyond the boundary of outrage, beginning with his calculated desecration of history. His purpose is not only to deny the Holocaust; it is to deny Israel. He is doing what another evil man did before him: conditioning minds to acquiesce to the elimination of a people.

“In January I was at the Herzliya conference and I discussed the threat of Iran. Since then, Iran continues to operate its nuclear program in defiance of the UN Security Council. It’s expanded its centrifuge operations in Natanz. It’s issued a new banknote that features a red nuclear symbol superimposed on the map of Iran.

“Earlier this month, Iran boasted the production of nuclear fuel on an ‘industrial level’ with a goal of installing 50,000 centrifuges. On April 9th, Iran marked a new national holiday – ‘Nuclear Day.’ Just look at the extent of their activity. These show the nuclear sites in Iran. This is not a little narrow project. Does the world understand what’s going on here? Do they recognize the threat which is posed by this nuclear-developing nation?

“Some people, of course, think that it’s possible to live with a nuclear Iran. That thinking is based on the theory that Iran , once it’s granted the privilege of becoming a member of the nuclear club, that it will be a responsible actor.

“Neither their words nor their actions justify that kind of thinking.

“Others believe that frankly back in the logic of deterrence, which served us through the Cold War – that that will protect us. But for all of the Soviet Union’s deep flaws, they were never suicidal. A Soviet commitment to national survival was never in question. And that assumption simply can’t be made about an irrational regime that celebrates martyrdom like Iran.

“It’s time to take Ahmadinejad at his word and act accordingly. We are going to continue to work, we’ll work with the UN, we’ll encourage China and Russia to work with us at the UN Security Council.

“But the U.S.and Europe can’t afford to wait.

“I have proposed a strategy to combat Iran’s nuclear ambition. Let me describe just a few of the elements.

“First, we should severely tighten economic sanctions. I think the Bush Administration deserves a lot of recognition for restricting access to our banking and credit services, because financial, and credit and monetary penalties are some of the most effective sanctions there are. And we must get other nations to act now to follow our lead.

“In my meetings in Israel in January it became clear to me that pension funds, such as the one here in New York City, have invested in companies like the French oil giant, Total. After New York State named its Comptroller, I wrote him, and I also wrote to Governor Spitzer, and Senators Schumer and Clinton and urged them to disinvest from companies that have significant operations in collaboration with Iranian regimes.

“Second, I think it’s important for us to isolate Iran diplomatically. Their leaders should be made to feel exactly like those of Apartheid South Africa, or worse. That’s why I ordered the state police of Massachusetts to refuse security details for former Iranian President Khatami when he came to Harvard.

“Of course, we can communicate and talk with Iran and I support the upcoming efforts to discuss security in Iraq with Iraq’s leaders and their neighbors in the region. But until there are indications that high level engagement would do anything other than reward bad behavior, I don’t believe that we should be engaging Iran in direct, bilateral negotiations over their nuclear weapons program. Iran’s nuclear intransigence is repulsive to the entire world and we shouldn’t let Iran try to position it as an Iran vs. a US thing.

“Now there is one place of course where I’d welcome Ahmadinejad with open arms: and that’s in a court where he would stand trial for incitement to genocide, under the terms of the Genocide Convention.

“There’s a third effort. Arab states need to join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. These states can do a lot more than just wring their hands and urge America to do all the work. They should support Iraq’s nascent government; they can help America’s focus on Iran quickly by turning down the temperature on the Arab-Israeli conflict; they can stop the financial and weapons flows to Hamas and Hezbollah; and they must tell their Palestinian friends to drop their campaign of terror and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

“This one’s a little sensitive. Listen carefully. Fourth, we have to make it clear to the Iranian people that while nuclear capabilities may be the source of pride, they can also be a source of peril. If nuclear material from Iran falls into the hands of terrorists and is used, it would provoke a devastating response from the entire civilized world to the very nation that supplied it.

“There is yet another source of Jihadist nuclear danger, beyond Iran. It’s the pursuit by Jihadists of acquiring what are commonly known as ‘loose nukes.’ The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which was launched last year, was a good start, but we need to accelerate and expand it.

“First, I’d appoint a senior American official to serve as Ambassador-at-Large to Prevent Nuclear Terror. He or she would have the authority and resources to work across agencies and departments in the United States to ensure that our strategies are coordinated here, and abroad.

“Further, I’d promote an international initiative to develop a new body of international law that would make nuclear trafficking a crime against humanity, on a par with genocide and war crimes. And by allowing for universal jurisdiction, charges can be brought up at any court, to help prevent traffickers from hiding in complicit or weak countries. Already, people have been caught trying to smuggle nuclear materials to sell them on the black market. Their acts shouldn’t be dismissed with the kind of nonchalance that sometimes accompanies routine violation of the laws.

“Countries that want to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes should convene to reaffirm their commitment to non-proliferation. For years now, we have depended on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as the centerpiece. But recent technological and political developments suggest that the bargain at the center of this effort needs to be updated. We need to set a ‘gold standard’ for security, given the amount of highly enriched uranium that still exists in the world. Let me show you where it is. The countries in red are countries that have over ten thousand kilograms of highly enriched uranium and various research facilities around their lands. As you look at that, you recognize why it is that we don’t want to break off discussions with Russia. There’s a lot of cooperation that we need to keep in place with Russia, because they’ve got to be engaged in frank and open discussions about the serious and disturbing turn of events in their own country. But we also have to remain a partner with them on the issue of securing the vast amount of highly enriched nuclear material in their country.

“Finally, the United States in my view should take the lead in organizing an international fuel bank, which would guarantee low-cost supplies of nuclear reactor fuel to countries willing to abide by very high standards for safety and security.

“The threat from Jihad is real and it is exacerbated by the demographic crisis. Today, over half the region is under 22 years old. The combined GDP of all Arab nations, including their oil revenue, is less than Spain’s. Think of that. And with the growing population and lack of jobs, the ground for radical Islam will be increasingly fertile.

“Let me show you some slides I think are pretty interesting. This shows the map of the world drawn to the scale of where the proportion of the world’s wealth was in 1960. Look at the United States – extraordinary wealth, larger than any other land in the world by far. Europe is shown in the pinkish colors there – that’s western Europe. The blue is eastern Europe and then you’ll see Africa of course very small in terms of portion of the economy of the world. The Middle East is in the light green. You can see India there in the yellow, right next to India , to the west of India is of course Pakistan. China is the bright green and Japan is the purple. Look how that changes as projected for 2015. Look what happens to China. Look what happens to Europe. But the Middle East continues to be extraordinarily small in terms of its economic clout. And Northern Africa, where Jihad is also rampant, is a tiny portion of the world’s economic vitality in the year 2015. This is as projected by the UN. Where are the babies being born?

“Let’s look at the same map, but instead of drawing it based upon where the economic strength is, let’s show where babies are being born. That’s where population will be as of 2050. The very places that have the least income have the extraordinary growth in population. And this is the very fertile and very frightening field that we’re going to have to encounter.

“And so because of this and many other reasons in the final analysis, only Muslims are going to be able to defeat radical Jihad.

“But we can and we must support moderate Muslims in rejecting the extreme and accepting modernity.

“We should remember that in the two other global confrontations with totalitarianism in the past century, it wasn’t always obvious that we’d win. Indeed, in those conflicts, the balance of power was not always in our favor.

“Those were wars we could have lost, but we didn’t.

“In the current conflict, defeat is not nearly as dangerously close as it was during the darkest moments of the Second World War and the Cold War. There’s no comparison between the economic and diplomatic, and military resources of the civilized world and those of the terrorist networks that threaten us today.

“In those previous global wars, there were many ways to lose, and victory was far from guaranteed.

“In the current conflict, there is only one way to lose, and that is if we as a civilized world decide not to lift a finger to defend ourselves, or our values, and our way of life.

“I will not be silent, you will not be silent.

“Today, we can lead the world. We can and we must lead the world to do what it has sought for so many centuries-to accept different people and different cultures, to respect the inalienable rights of every child of God, and to welcome a time of peace and prosperity for all the children of our Creator.

“Thank you so much.”

As Prepared For Delivery

The Obama Doctrine Exposed

The Obama Doctrine has been implemented and its net result has been to accelerate an inevitable war by a generation, and as the two-thousandth soldier killed in Afghanistan returns home in a flag-draped coffin, that victim of Obama’s cynical politics of appeasement is one of a number that may one day fall into the millions.

By :

On Monday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took President Obama to task for his administration’s disastrous handling of American foreign policy, which has had catastrophic consequences — most recently in the form of the heinous attacks against our embassies in Libya and Egypt. To understand what happened in Benghazi or in Cairo requires more than poking around the rubble, wiping off some of the ashes and pronouncing the whole thing a tragedy. The German invasion of Poland wasn’t the tragedy; the Munich Agreement was. Similarly the tragedy wasn’t the consulate and embassy attacks, but the foreign policy that caused them to happen.

The underlying philosophy Romney pointed to, the Obama Doctrine, has often been described as appeasement, but that’s a vague and general criticism. The Munich Agreement was appeasement, but the Obama Doctrine goes beyond anything as simple as appeasing as a single nation’s territorial ambitions.

The Obama Doctrine sought to resolve the War on Terror by dividing Islamists into two camps: the moderate political Islamists and the extremist violent Islamists. These categorizations were wholly artificial and everyone from Obama on down knew how artificial the differences between the so-called extremists and moderates were.

In Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood had transitioned the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group from the status of violent extremists allied with Al Qaeda to political Islamists committed to political reforms. That did not actually make the LIFG, which exploited its newfound moderate status and the freedom that came with it to go on fighting Gaddafi as part of the civil war, non-violent. The difference between the Al Qaeda-affiliated LIFG and the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated LIFG was a few pieces of paper.

But the gruesome absurdity of the whole thing was laid out plainly for all to see in Afghanistan. The plan for Afghanistan was not to defeat the Taliban, though that was how it was sold to the American people, it was to divide the Taliban into moderates willing to engage in a democratic political process and extremists who would be defeated and isolated.

The Afghanistan surge, which cost nearly 1,500 American lives, was a brute force mechanism for engineering a divide that was supposed to result in the military defeat of the Taliban and their transformation into a political party. The Taliban would be free to lock up Afghan girls again, so long as they did it after winning a democratic election.

The Muslim Brotherhood was called in to oversee negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, as it had between Gaddafi and the LIFG, but unlike the LIFG, the Taliban showed no interest in following the Muslim Brotherhood’s devious route to political power.

The difference between Afghanistan and the Arab Spring countries is that those countries had strong governments capable of suppressing Islamist groups and forcing them to resort to the political process to accomplish what they could not manage through violence. However Obama’s withdrawal timetable made it clear to the Taliban that all they had to do to win in Afghanistan was wait him out.

“Our enemies are little worms. I saw them at Munich,” Hitler told his generals. The Taliban commanders have likely shared a similar opinion of Obama’s coterie of amateur peacemakers and of the great man himself.

1,500 American soldiers died in Afghanistan to improve Obama’s leverage in his failed bid to transform the Taliban into a political party. It is hard to think of any aspect of his foreign policy more hideously repulsive than this simple fact.

Read it all at Front Page

More clarity, boldness and specifics from Mitt Romney, this time on foreign policy

By Paul Bonicelli:

Gov. Romney’s speech at VMI this morning offers a few new insights into his thinking about foreign policy, such as specifics on Egypt and Syria. But the rhetoric and tone also continue to reveal a leader willing to state in bold terms the foreign policies he would pursue if elected that are unlikely to be popular in the general election nor even with some of the Republican base. Finally, he continues to show that he grasps the ugly realities we face in terms of our enemies and the circumstances they manipulate for their good and our harm, and that the United States must lead if we have any hope for success.

A few portions of the speech demonstrate these points. First, Romney repeats his assertion that no video or enraged mob explains the widespread and violent attacks on our embassies and personnel, including the murder of Amb. Stevens. Says Romney: “No, as the administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West.” In the speech he also uses the term “Islamist extremists.” Not shying away from this term is important for defining himself differently from the Obama administration.

He goes on, nevertheless, to find hope in this situation, by noting the many Libyans who took to the streets to denounce the terrorism and express their desire to remain close to the United States and not “go from darkness to darkness.”

For Romney, such displays increase our hope that the United States can shore up our interests in this region. We should start by calling the problems what they are — Islamist extremists who commit terrorism — and then countering them with force and in league with allies.

He draws upon the example of Gen. George Marshall and the defeat of our enemies in Europe and the rebuilding of those societies and free and prosperous countries.

“We have seen this struggle before. It would be familiar to George Marshall. In his time, in the ashes of world war, another critical part of the world was torn between democracy and despotism. Fortunately, we had leaders of courage and vision, both Republicans and Democrats, who knew that America had to support friends who shared our values, and prevent today’s crises from becoming tomorrow’s conflicts.

Statesmen like Marshall rallied our nation to rise to its responsibilities as the leader of the free world. We helped our friends to build and sustain free societies and free markets. We defended our friends, and ourselves, from our common enemies. We led. And though the path was long and uncertain, the thought of war in Europe is as inconceivable today as it seemed inevitable in the last century.

This is what makes America exceptional: It is not just the character of our country — it is the record of our accomplishments. America has a proud history of strong, confident, principled global leadership — a history that has been written by patriots of both parties. That is America at its best.”

Second, Gov. Romney offers some specific policy goals regarding several countries and issues. Some statements reflect what he has already said, but in a couple of cases, he offers new policy that is not necessarily the safe stuff that a campaign advisor likes to see. To focus on two (and not the obvious ones of Iran and Afghanistan), regarding Syria, he calls for U.S. involvement in the form of picking a side among the rebels and helping them succeed with arms:

“In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran-rather than sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.”

For Egypt, he makes it clear we should use our aid to require the Brotherhood government to be open to all voices and be truly democratic, as well as to respect its treaty with Israel:

“In Egypt, I will use our influence-including clear conditions on our aid-to urge the new government to represent all Egyptians, to build democratic institutions, and to maintain its peace treaty with Israel. And we must persuade our friends and allies to place similar stipulations on their aid.”

There are a number of other points Romney makes in this speech, which is clearly an attempt not only to lay out his views but provide a stark contrast to President Obama. Gov. Romney succeeds at drawing the contrast and in ways that show the same kind of bold and clear leadership, complete with specifics, that he offered recently in the first debate on the economy and healthcare. Thus, we’ve got a preview for the debate that covers foreign policy.

 

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Mitt Romney: A New Course for the Middle East

By Mitt Romney:

Disturbing developments are sweeping across the greater Middle East. In Syria, tens of thousands of innocent people have been slaughtered. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has come to power, and the country’s peace treaty with Israel hangs in the balance. In Libya, our ambassador was murdered in a terrorist attack. U.S. embassies throughout the region have been stormed in violent protests. And in Iran, the ayatollahs continue to move full tilt toward nuclear-weapons capability, all the while promising to annihilate Israel.

These developments are not, as President Obama says, mere “bumps in the road.” They are major issues that put our security at risk.

Yet amid this upheaval, our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them. We’re not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies.

And that’s dangerous. If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel’s security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom.

We still have time to address these threats, but it will require a new strategy toward the Middle East.

The first step is to understand how we got here. Since World War II, America has been the leader of the Free World. We’re unique in having earned that role not through conquest but through promoting human rights, free markets and the rule of law. We ally ourselves with like-minded countries, expand prosperity through trade and keep the peace by maintaining a military second to none.

But in recent years, President Obama has allowed our leadership to atrophy. Our economy is stuck in a “recovery” that barely deserves the name. Our national debt has risen to record levels. Our military, tested by a decade of war, is facing devastating cuts thanks to the budgetary games played by the White House. Finally, our values have been misapplied—and misunderstood—by a president who thinks that weakness will win favor with our adversaries.

An American school adjacent to the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, on Sept. 15. Protesters burned the school the day before.

By failing to maintain the elements of our influence and by stepping away from our allies, President Obama has heightened the prospect of conflict and instability. He does not understand that an American policy that lacks resolve can provoke aggression and encourage disorder.

The Middle East is a case in point. The Arab Spring presented an opportunity to help move millions of people from oppression to freedom. But it also presented grave risks. We needed a strategy for success, but the president offered none. And now he seeks to downplay the significance of the calamities of the past few weeks.

The same incomprehension afflicts the president’s policy toward Israel. The president began his term with the explicit policy of creating “daylight” between our two countries. He recently downgraded Israel from being our “closest ally” in the Middle East to being only “one of our closest allies.” It’s a diplomatic message that will be received clearly by Israel and its adversaries alike. He dismissed Israel’s concerns about Iran as mere “noise” that he prefers to “block out.” And at a time when Israel needs America to stand with it, he declined to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In this period of uncertainty, we need to apply a coherent strategy of supporting our partners in the Middle East—that is, both governments and individuals who share our values.

This means restoring our credibility with Iran. When we say an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability—and the regional instability that comes with it—is unacceptable, the ayatollahs must be made to believe us.

It means placing no daylight between the United States and Israel. And it means using the full spectrum of our soft power to encourage liberty and opportunity for those who have for too long known only corruption and oppression. The dignity of work and the ability to steer the course of their lives are the best alternatives to extremism.

But this Middle East policy will be undermined unless we restore the three sinews of our influence: our economic strength, our military strength and the strength of our values. That will require a very different set of policies from those President Obama is pursuing.

The 20th century became an American Century because we were steadfast in defense of freedom. We made the painful sacrifices necessary to defeat totalitarianism in all of its guises. To defend ourselves and our allies, we paid the price in treasure and in soldiers who never came home.

Our challenges are different now, but if the 21st century is to be another American Century, we need leaders who understand that keeping the peace requires American strength in all of its dimensions.

Mr. Romney is the Republican Party candidate for president.